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Sabino - Bear Canyon Loop
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mini location map2015-12-18
8 by photographer avatarfearnestiv
photographer avatar
 
Sabino - Bear Canyon LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 18 2015
fearnestiv
Hiking17.25 Miles 2,950 AEG
Hiking17.25 Miles
2,950 ft AEG
 
1st trip
This loop appealed to me because I was hiking alone and needed to get back to my car in the Sabino parking lot. I hadn't hiked Bear Canyon beyond Seven Falls. There was a natural loop hike going out Bear Canyon and circling back to Sabino Canyon on the topo map that would take be back to the Sabino parking lot. Started at 7:50 AM, and it was pretty cold with frozen ground, patches of ice on some puddles, lots of frost, and patchy snow at higher elevations on the north facing slopes. Although there had been recent rain, Bear Creek was not running high and was easy to cross. Ran into one runner and one hiker coming back down lower Bear Canyon. Seven Falls was still in the shadows as I headed past the falls and up the canyon. There was good water flow in the upper canyon, and beautiful small falls and pools that would be a great destination in themselves. There was not a huge elevation gain throughout the hike, and the switchbacks were really well laid out, so the incline was very manageable. Met a five person hiking group high up in Bear Canyon coming over from Prison Camp/Sycamore Canyon, and later, another couple coming from Sabino. Ran into a fork in the trail as I entered the Sabino Creek watershed and opted for the east side. Checking my Garmin, there are two options to get to East Fork, and this would be the best for the Sabino loop. The East Fork trail segment was very pretty with evidence of an old fire and many burned tree trunks. At noon there was still patchy ice in some spots in the shade! The trail descended by a series of switchbacks to the creek. Palisades and Box Camp trail signs branched off East Fork before reaching the Sabino Canyon Trail. Sabino Canyon is a gem and I'm always impressed by its beauty. As I came down to a perch just above the tram road turn-around, I hit the Phone Line Trail and headed along the southwest wall of the canyon. There are great views of the lower canyon and down into the city of Tucson. I was pretty tired by the time I passed Blackett's Ridge trail sign near the bottom, and I was very happy to get back to the Sabino parking lot and get my boots off. All in all a great hike, just over 17 miles. Taking my Aleve tonight ;)
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